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Wireless Reviews

NETGEAR R6220

Smart WiFi Router With External Antennas
At a glance
ProductNETGEAR Smart WiFi Router With External Antennas (R6220)   [Website]
SummaryMediaTek-based AC1200 router with Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 2.0 storage and printer sharing
Pros• OpenVPN VPN
• WDS bridging / repeating
• Traffic monitor
• OpenDNS parental controls
Cons• USB 2.0 vs. 3.0
• Relatively poor 5GHz performance
• No 5 GHz status LED

Typical Price: $81  Buy From Amazon

Like the other routers in this roundup, the NETGEAR R6220 is a desktop router designed to sit horizontally. However, there are mounting holes on the bottom of the router so you could mount it to a wall. There are nine status LEDs that shine through the top panel. Unfortunately, the LEDs are recessed on the PCB, so if you are looking at the router at an angle, it's difficult to see the lights. There are LEDs for power, Internet, Wi-Fi, LAN ports (1-4), the USB port, and a WPS status indicator. Interestingly, the Wi-Fi status shows only that the 2.4 GHz radio is operating. There's no status light for the 5 GHz band.

The rear panel has the standard complement of four Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port, power connector, WPS pushbutton and Pin reset. Not found on too many competing routers, the R6220 has an On/Off switch as well as a switch to disable Wi-Fi. Since there are individual LAN port indicators on the top panel, there aren't LEDs indicators on the individual Ethernet ports.

NETGEAR R6220 Product

NETGEAR R6220 AC1200 Smart WiFi Router with External Antennas

Inside

The R6220 is a MediaTek-based router, with key components summarized below.

  NETGEAR R6220
CPU MediaTek MT7621S @ 880 MHz
Switch MediaTek MT7621S
RAM 128 MB
Flash 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio MediaTek MT7603E
5 GHz radio MediaTek MT7612E
NETGEAR R6220 component summary

NETGEAR has a short term embargo on the inside photos and other information and I couldn't figure out how to open the case without damaging it. So, no photos.

Features

As with the Linksys, setup was simple. For testing, I connect the WAN port on the router under test to a LAN port on my public-facing router. Since the R6220 defaults to the same 192.168.1.0/24 network I use in my office, I bypassed the setup wizard. The quick start guide tells you to use either a wired LAN port or a wireless connection using the credentials found on the product label. By default, the DHCP server uses the entire range of available addresses (.2 to .254) in the /24 subnet.

The R6220 supports all standard Genie features found across NETGEAR's consumer router line. Features are virtually identical the NETGEAR WNDR3800 I use on my network. The landing page has tabs for basic and advanced menus on the left-hand side of the screen. On the right-hand side of the screen there are six large icons to display the status of the Internet connection, wireless status and credentials, attached devices, parental control, attached storage, and guest network.

Across the bottom of the screen is a Help & Support panel with links to documentation, online support and FAQs as well as a Search Box for online help. Most users will only need to use the menu items available in the basic tab. More advanced users will appreciate some of the features in the advanced menu system.

NETGEAR R6220 Landing Page

NETGEAR R6220 Landing Page

Under the Basic tab, several submenus deserve special mention.

  • Attached devices - Also available from one of the home screen widgets, shows you both wired and wireless attached devices.
  • Parental controls - Provided via OpenDNS, they provide granular control over allowed / blocked content categories. This is much more sophisticated and provides much more control than simple blocking of domains and blocking scheduled time periods.
  • ReadyShare - Attached USB storage can be accessed via SMB, HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP. There is not the user level control for FTP found on the Linksys router.
  • Guest network -Supported on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Each guest network can have its own wireless password. Optionally, you may allow guest access to your local network.

The Advanced tab has its own landing page that shows a summary of router information, including internet port connectivity and main and guest wireless network status. Buttons within widgets allow you to reboot the router show statistics or get connection status. If you want to rerun the setup wizard just click on the set up wizard menu. Similarly there's another wizard for setting up WPS. The R6220 supports pushbutton or PIN WPS.

NETGEAR Advanced Landing Page

NETGEAR Advanced Landing Page

Quality of Service (QoS) setup is the best of any router in this roundup. You have a choice of configuring QoS by service or by device. By default, there are four different QoS queues pre-populated with services. Services such as Skype, iPhone, Vonage, Google talk, etc. are in Queue 1, which has the highest priority. You can add additional applications and change priority queues for each application.

Setting QoS by device assigns it to one of the four priority levels. The QoS setup also has a built-in speed test powered by OOKLA (which also powers speedtest.net). The screenshot below shows that my measured uplink speed is 11 Mbps.

NETGEAR R6220 QOS Setup

NETGEAR R6220 QOS Setup

Under the Advanced Setup menu, there are several features worth special mention, as they are unique to the R6220 router in this roundup.

  • Wireless Access point - this feature turns your R6220 into an AP. When enabled, you just connect an Ethernet cable from a LAN port on your network to the WAN port on the R6220.
  • UPnP - While most of the other routers in this roundup support UPnP, NETGEAR routers, including the R6220, is one of the few routers on the market that display a port map of ports opened by UPnP, and the IP address of the client using each port.
  • Traffic Meter - This page provides you with summary information about your upload and download usage for today, yesterday, this week, and this month.
  • VPN Service - This is the only router in the roundup supporting the popular Open VPN.

Check the Feature comparison table.

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